Saturday, November 30, 2013

Hotel Review - Radisson Aruba Hotel and Spa

Set on beautiful Palm Beach, the Radisson Aruba is a good choice for a stay on the beautiful island of Aruba. A 20 minute ride from the airport, the hotel is located smack in the middle of the high rise hotel zone on Palm Beach.

My check in was quick and I was lucky enough to find a bellman who took my bags to my room, since I was in the Curacao tower, the furthest away from the lobby and down a flight of steps. Some others that were part of my group complained that check in took 25 minutes and that they were merely directed to the general area of the tower and there was no one to assist with luggage.

My room, 3609, was on the 6th floor (highest floor). There were two double beds, a good sized desk, a cabinets with a t.v. and a refrigerator (empty) and an upholstered chair. The bathroom had an ample counter but only one sink, with a tub/shower combination. There were plenty of vanity supplies - shampoo,conditioner, soap, body wash, a vanity kit, shower cap. and shoe buff. The tub was difficult to get in - it was one of those surrounds with a high side to step over.  Thankfully there were grab bars.

There were two bottles of water which were replenished daily at no charge.  There are two pools - both zero entry, one closer to the Barbados Tower and one close to Gilligans restaurant and was the activity pool.  There is a beautiful beach with plenty of lounge chairs but most are directly in the sun - there are very few that have any shade. Bring sunscreen!

There are cabanas by the pool and beach that can be rented by the day. The price range from $15 per day to $25 depending on where the cabana is located, beachside or poolside.  Those who rent get a fruit basket. To rent a cabin, guests must line up daily at 4 PM at the pool cabana where beach towels are handed out.  We saw lines begin about 3:30.  Cabins can be rented for multiple days - the renters names are written on a sign on the front of the cabana each day.

There are several restaurants on property. Gilligan serves lunch and dinner. Sandwich and salads start at about $14, entrees a bit more. The Sunset Grill, rated the best international restaurant on the island, is located here.  Prices are higher than you would find back home (my lunch consisting of a grilled chicken salad and iced tea cost $21 with tax and mandatory gratuity). The next day I realized I could have simply walked across the street and eaten for less than half the price.

There is a nice walkway at the back of the hotel where you can walk all the way down the beach either way with. The hotel is also ideally located right across the street from many shops and restaurants, making it unnecessary to eat at the hotel if you don't want to. There is also lots of shopping across the street as well.

Our room was clean and the beds were comfortable. You cannot turn the air conditioning down less than 65 degrees, and the air goes on and off constantly to maintain the temperature so if you are a light sleep you may hear it at night.

There is a casino on site which opens at 12 noon for slots -table games begin  later in the day.

There is free wi-fi but it is spotty. We had low reception in our room and I often had to go to the front desk area to get a good signal to use the phone. There is a very nice spa on site for a relaxing massage or skin treatment.

There are planned activities during the day and things going on at night. On Tuesdays there is a fire show, which we missed because we were away from the hotel that night.  (Free to those on property, tickets for sale for those not staying on property.)

One of the best features of the hotel is it's location. Right across the street are restaurants, shops and a night time market. There is a shopping mall with a movie theater within walking distance. If you walk along the beachfront, there are a myriad of restaurants, shops  and activities. The best find is a little coffee place called The Bread Basket, located between the Radisson and the Occidental Resort next door.  They serve gourmet coffee, pancakes and breakfast sandwiches on a beachside setting.

Check out in the early morning was a snap.  There were no lines, I just had to stop and pay the taxes (which average 24% for the various island taxes).

The Radisson is a good choice for a moderately priced  hotel in a fabulous location.
There are very few all inclusive hotels in Aruba and honestly - an all inclusive is not a must. There are many well priced restaurants and if you want to have liquor in your room, you can pick up duty free liquor in the airport and keep it in your room. We loved Aruba and wouldn't hesitate to stay at the Radisson again.
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